Making 20% off-the-job-work – an Employer panel discussion

Making 20% off-the-job-work – an Employer panel discussion


Rohini Bhattacharya: Good morning everyone
and thank you very much for joining this Insight Webinar Series, which is an employer panel
discussion on making 20% off-the-job work, the approach is to delivery, impact and compliance.
We are very grateful that you are joining us this morning, I think it’s a very topical
subject in the area of apprenticeships. This employer webinar is being brought to you by
Pearson in partnership with Campaign for Learning, and again, we are very grateful for our partners
and indeed, all of your participation in this webinar has been facilitated by our partners,
and our very valuable panel members. So I’ll just quickly refer to our panel members now,
just very quickly about myself, my name is Rohini Bhattacharya, I am the director of
apprenticeships for Pearson and I will be acting as the panel chair and moderating this
discussion between our panel members. I am also joined by senior people working within
three very different organisations today. So we have Claire Lish, who is the director
of HR for Pepper UK, which is a global financial services group. We have Darren Avery, who
is the apprenticeship lead from the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is a leading
world’s children hospital. Last but not least, we have David Bevan, who is the training and
development specialist from Blue Chip, which is a B2B IT and infrastructure solutions provider,
working in the UK and globally as well. So I will quickly hand over to our panel members
to say a few words, just introducing their respective organisations and also talking
about themselves and their role within the organisations. So Claire from Pepper UK, would
you like to go first? Claire Lish: Good morning, yes, my name is
Claire Lish, I am the director of human resources for Pepper UK. Pepper is a global financial
services organisation incorporating residential mortgage and commercial servicing, as well
as banks across the globe. My role within the organisation in the UK is to take a responsibility
for human resources, facilities, health and safety and of course learning and development
which is absolutely key and a big part of that is our apprentice programme.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Thank you Claire, Darren? Darren Avery: Hi, good morning everyone, so
may name is Darren Avery, I’m from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital here in London.
My role in the organisation is apprenticeship lead, so I work on apprenticeship strategy.
If you want to know more about our hospital, please tune in tomorrow evening on ITV1 where
we have a weekly series with Paul O’Grady and our Little Heroes, so please watch tomorrow,
thank you. Rohini Bhattacharya: Perfect, thank you very
much for that great plugging Darren, and David. David Bevan: Good morning everyone, so I am
David Bevan, I work for a company called Blue Chip, which are an IT infrastructure managed
services company that support other businesses with their critical IT solutions. I’ve been
in L&D for about five years and as a training development specialist, I am part of a two
person L&D team and I’m solely responsible for the apprenticeship and early careers programme,
the business in terms of the ratio for apprentices to full-time other staff members is around
ten per cent apprenticeships. So we’re looking at working with different providers and how
we can boost that early career start for people in the best way possible.
[Slide – 1. What is your organisational position on the benefits of 20% off-the-job (OTJ)?
2. How is the 20% OTJ implemented within your organisation across different roles? 3. What
challenges did you come across when implementing 20% OTJ and how did you/your organisation
over them these? 4. What advice would you give other employers for making 20% off-the-job
work? 5. Are there better ways to implement this key requirement of apprenticeships? 6.
What advice would you give to the policy makers if you had an opportunity to change this requirement?]
Rohini Bhattacharya: Thank you very much to Claire, Darren and David. So today we will
discuss all of these six points, which are focused on the 20% off-the-job and we will
look at how these impact different panel members and their respective organisations. So I will
kick off with David Bevan from Blue Chip, and David, if you could talk what your organisations
position is, on the benefits of the 20% off-the-job, and how has this been implemented within your
organisation across the different roles? David Bevan: So I think, with apprenticeships,
they’re normally targeted towards younger people, but that’s not necessarily the case,
and actually, over the last couple of years, I’ve recognised that it can be anyone of any
age and from any background. The benefits that we’ve seen actually is, alongside, whichever
provider you use, whether it’s a college or an outsourced company, they’re going to focus
on the standard, the actual educational piece to get them on the job in terms of learning
that skill, and actually the benefits of off-the-job is all of the soft skill stuff. So if we take
younger apprentices as an example, these are people that you can train in communication
or time and energy management. We actually do, we use insights training, we give them
a psychometric profile that shows them their preference on how they communicate and deal
with other people. There’s all these benefits that they’re not going to learn at college
or in a classroom when they’re doing their studies. So actually it’s a huge benefit,
because what we’re saying is, this is really easy. Everyone sees 20% off-the-job as being
quite a large number, quite daunting, but actually, it’s so easy to do because we’re
upskilling these people to give them the right type of behaviours that link into the company
values. When we’re talking about what type of people do we want, really it’s looking,
nowadays, I believe, for the potential, for the fit, because you can then, if they’ve
got the right attitude, you can teach that ability and that soft skill as well as the
actual functional training as well. Rohini Bhattacharya: Okay, that’s good to
know. Claire, how about your experience in the implementation and the benefits of the
20% off-the-job. Claire Lish: I think that I agree completely
with David, the huge benefits that there are in having 20% off-the-job training, and likewise,
the opportunity to offer new entrants to our organisation, facilitation skills, presentation,
communication skills, that kind of thing. Which only serves to make them more valuable
employees as they go through their apprentice journey. So from my perspective we welcome
it, and we actually have quite a high target for training anyway, because we’re in financial
services, so we need to evidence that our staff are competent for role. Also, I think
that people, sometimes miss the fact that things like buddying up, coaching, shadowing,
can also be counted towards your off-the-job targets. So people don’t need to be so linear
in thinking, gosh, this is a huge amount of away from the business, it’s not necessarily,
and that only serves to benefit the progression of the organisation.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Thank you Claire, and Darren, how do you think this has worked in
GOSH as such? Darren Avery: Yes, I think building on what
Claire was saying, with us, the benefits of the staff having that protected time for the
apprenticeship programme is obviously a big benefit and ensuring that having the time
means that they have a quality experience on the apprenticeship programme. Also, making
sure that the individual apprentices receive that support against their knowledge skills
and behaviours that really results in them successfully moving on into the role. So they
get the rounded skills, through the off-the-job training and that allows them then to really
move into the role on completion of the apprenticeship. Rohini Bhattacharya: That’s great to hear,
I think what I am hearing there is, obviously there’s alignment around the benefits for
the apprentice as well, but there’s also a clear [unclear word 0:08:04.0] team coming
out around the focus, around the soft skills, and how that 20% can be used to actually align
the apprentices. Whether they are a new entrant to the organisation or even existing people,
to pick up the behaviours that are expected of them within the workplace and within specific
organisations from one to the other. Thank you, that was a great discussion there. Moving
on to some of the challenges that each of us may have been coming across in terms of
implementing the 20% off-the-job. I’ll go to Darren initially, and throw the question
out to yourself. Obviously, you’re a big world class hospital, you have a big levy, I’m sure
and we all know and understand the pressures around the NHS and the delivery. What’s your
view on some of the challenges and what advice would you give to other employers who are
making this, or who are trying to make this 20% off-the-job work?
Darren Avery: Yes so in terms of the challenges, there’s a number of challenges that we’ve
obviously come across. So we’ve been delivering apprenticeships since 2012, so in terms of
the reforms and the 20% off-the-job being introduced, that was an initial challenge
for use because it was new to us as an organisation. So we had to move, obviously in terms of implementing
those changes and obviously we have managers in the organisation that weren’t used to that,
so we had to make sure that they were ready for those changes. Also, the understanding
of what the 20% off-the-job really is, what it can include and all that sort of thing,
is what was obviously a key challenge as well. Some of the work-based learning apprenticeship
programmes rely a lot, that we’ve just delivered, relied a lot on on-the-job training. We’ve
obviously had to look at that to make sure it was compliant with the new off-the-job
requirements. So some of the things that we’ve done as an organisation in terms of overcoming
the challenges, so we had a number of providers that we already worked with and we have increased
our apprenticeships over the last few years. So we took an opportunity to recontract with
our training providers. So we’ve obviously looked at what our requirements are. So we’ve
had stakeholder groups made up of different staff from across the organisation that have
obviously looked at what our requirements are, in terms of re-contracting with a provider.
As an NHS Trust, we’ve also done that in partnership with other local NHS Trusts in our area, and
across London to make sure that obviously we’re able to pop them requirements together
and that’s worked quite well. So we’ve set out what the programmes are requiring and
obviously we’re contracting the providers. Also, regarding the 20% off-the-job, we’ve
worked very closely with our training providers, what can be counted in the time and what can’t
be counted and ensuring that there’s clear systems reporting in place, whether that be
for our managers or through our training providers, but obviously having an apprentice at the
heart of making sure that the time is recorded and obviously they’re getting the required
off-the-job training. Rohini Bhattacharya: David, working for a
Blue Chip, which is obviously a B2B organisation, what kind of challenges have you come across?
Obviously, your organisation is quite different from Darren’s, so what are the kind of different
challenges that you have? David Bevan: So I think, we don’t really use
training, as many training providers, we try and do a lot of the off-the-job stuff internally.
So I think that brings some different challenges, I think there’s a time restraint on a two-person
L&D team and a resource, and then how do you work around that. Actually, what we’ve learnt,
you’ve heard the panel talk about buddying systems and mentoring and actually, it’s using
subject matter experts because actually then that helps enable and upskill them. So actually,
it’s two birds, one stone and everyone is a winner, because you’re developing two people
at that same time. So we have a mentoring programme with a buddy system and a lot of
times businesses maybe try and introduce a mentor programme or force a mentoring programme.
Actually, if you introduce a mentoring programme alongside other initiatives, whether that’s
leadership development or that’s apprenticeships, then actually, mentoring works a lot better
and a lot more organically within the organisation and with people. Then there’s a [unclear word
0:12:54.2], so one of the challenges I face is that I don’t have a training room, I would
love a training room. Yes, I am looking at your Claire, and I think the reason I talk
about that, and again, it’s a bit [line distorts 0:13:11.4] because our customers come first.
So if we’ve got a customer coming into the office, and they need a conference room, I
have to go and rearrange some training and I understand it. Totally get why we’re doing
it, but it’s a challenge, because it means that there is, there’s a lot of coordination
and planning that goes into training, especially if you’ve got 15 delegates that are coming
on, right. So actually, that resource can be a challenge, and I think, how do you overcome
the resource challenge, well, if you’re like Claire and you have your own room, then that’s
great, but I think that there’s ways around it. It’s being open with the candidates, it’s
looking potentially planning other back up availability, we’ve got some great resource
just offsite, in case we do need to go and move rooms. So I think there’s ways around
it and being an IT company, we’re very tech savvy, so we’re all laptops and portables.
So actually, we’re not restrained to the building as such. So there’s ways around it.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Claire, for yourself, obviously you’re a services company, you clearly
have an advantage in having a training room as David pointed out, but some of the other
challenges I suppose that you’re facing still. Claire Lish: One thing that I would just want
to link back to, I agree so much with what David was saying about the opportunities that
the off-the-job training creates for other people in the organisation. One of the biggest
and most unexpected benefits for our organisation, was the opportunities that other members of
staff, who maybe weren’t ready for promotion necessarily but who were ready to take on
additional responsibility and the chances that they had to expand their breadth and
share their knowledge of the organisation or simply some of the soft skills activities,
was immense, and it was a huge opportunity for us. If I was to say, how we got by-in
for this off-the-job piece, if I take it right back to the very beginning of the planning
piece in terms of, we tightly model our headcount to our assets undermanagement. The way that
you have to look at an apprentice is, you’ve got your basic apprentice minimum wage, we
pay a bit more than but an apprentice for us, in terms of salary, costs about half as
much as a specialist and that’s the area that they’re going into to be trained up for. So
going out to the business, and saying, ‘Listen, actually this person, we’re pro-rating, it’s
four days a week you’ve got them, but you can have two for one. So you’ve got one specialist
vacancy there, but I’ll give you two apprentices and you can have them for basically four days
a week. That’s a really powerful piece for a recruiting manager, particularly in the
administrative areas of the business and even also for the support functions, that they
could actually have two people that they can train from scratch. So from our perspective
it’s worked really well, and it’s been very popular. The only other thing I’d say is that
we did have to, at the beginning, I think, people saw this as potentially a philanthropic
exercise, we’re going to bring in a load of kids and they’re going to be running riot,
and financial services can be a little bit more stayed sometimes. What we did is, I suppose
if were retail, you’d call it a lost leader. We brought in one apprentice, one brilliant
apprentice and then we literally showcased her across the business, so that people could
see actually the calibre of these young people that can come into our organisation. Now,
what we’re finding, to David and Darren’s points, it’s not just the youngsters that
are coming in, we’re creating opportunities for work returners, for people who have worked
in other organisations, such as retail or customer services to come and retrain with
us. So it works really well but getting the finances right at the beginning in organisations
that are very commercially focused. I’m sure the same for the guys, that are really watching
the bottom line on the cash, has been really valuable for us, because we didn’t have the
same challenges that Darren had in re-educating people on what the process was. We were a
little late to the apprentice party, but that meant that we didn’t have to rework the model
for people. So we have a benefit from that perspective, we kind of went in and said,
‘This is the deal, and this is how much time we will spend training these people.’
Rohini Bhattacharya: So a number of themes there, obviously, I think engaging stakeholders
both internal and external is coming out of the theme there. So how to engage different
parts of the business but also engaging with your training providers, if you are working
with training providers, that seems to be something that obviously Darren referred to.
Then I think Claire, other thing that I looked at across the board was around the opportunities,
the existing members of staff and I think that’s that a really key thing when you’re
actually still working in an environment or a landscaper. If you’re still evolving very
much externally, how do you actually sell that internally to actually make it work and
I think two very good examples from both David and Claire, around how do you actually engage
the business and have this as an opportunity for existing members of staff to develop laterally
or develop some other skills that can be utilised and be beneficial, both for themselves and
the business as well. I think Claire also then picked up a very important point around
planning and actually linking into the headcount and actually understanding how this additional
member of staff is going to add value to the business as well. So moving on to any better
ways of implementing this 20% off-the-job requirement. I think we’ve kind of touched
upon it through other questions as well, but Claire, I’ll start with you around what do
you think would be some of the better ways to implement this and what advice from your
perspective would you give to policy makers if you had the opportunity to change this
requirement? Claire Lish: I think from my perspective,
the framework is really important and really the framework is important because it gives
some people something to hang their hat on, in the way in which they deliver it. Now,
obviously, for organisations that have been running apprenticeships for a long time, for
some of them, there may be some challenges in implementing this model of delivering the
apprenticeship programme. If I look back to, my own husband did an apprenticeship many,
many years ago when we were both a lot younger and less tubby than we are now. I remember
thinking to myself, this isn’t wasn’t working, he’s not actually being trained, and it wasn’t
useful for him and he didn’t follow a career with that apprenticeship. It ended at the
end of a year and he ended up moving on to a job with the NHS, but what it felt to me
at that time was they were kind of shuffling people through as cheap resource. This actually
is a very clear message that this isn’t a means of getting cheap resource through your
business, it’s a means of growing talent. For me, if I was going to say to people, ‘How
do you change the requirement?’ I don’t think you do change the requirement; I think the
training piece is really, really important, and I suppose my message wouldn’t necessarily
be to policy makers, but it would be to organisations to get out there and talk about the value
that they’ve had. I don’t believe that we are alone in the three of us who are on this
panel in saying that our apprentices add value much quicker, and much more value than we
expected them to when they walked through the door. That was the biggest surprise for
my organisation, when we first went in, and we designed a long programme of training and
we expected that we wouldn’t have any value out of apprentices for at six months. That
we would literally be hand-holding them and that absolutely wasn’t the case. We found
that we had talented future leaders of the business who we just needed to invest in and
frankly, it was a bargain. Rohini Bhattacharya: Excellent, thank you
very much, that’s really helpful. Darren, how about yourself, what would you say would
be any better way to implement this, any advice from the policy makers there.
Darren Avery: Yes, I think just with regards to the off-the-job training, the maths and
English requirement sits outside of the off-the-job training and within the NHS we do have a lot
of staff and apprentices that join us that do need to work on their maths and English
in order to meet the requirements for the apprenticeship standard. So that would be
one thing that we would say to the policy maker, to look at how the maths and English
can be incorporated into the off-the-job training. That’s not just from us an employer, that’s
to obviously support the, and not to disadvantage the individuals that are coming in as apprentices,
because obviously what we have to consider is the amount of time that that apprentice
is having off-the-job. What we don’t want to do is disadvantage individuals that may
need to improve their maths and English, which unfortunately, sometimes, it does lead to
us having to look at individuals who already have the maths and English, that will be one
key thing. The other thing is probably around the title off-the-job training, which has
caused us a lot confusion, in terms of our managers, even the individual apprentices
over what can be counted, and like I was saying earlier, we work very closely with our training
providers to look at what can be counted, but it may be something that we take to the
policy makers, is to consider the title of off-the-job and maybe consider a better use
of words to describe actually what off-the-job training really is.
Rohini Bhattacharya: That’s a good point, and David, finally, from yourself, any suggestions
there? David Bevan: So I think I’d massively echo
Darren’s point, we’ve just had our fresh batch of learners come through at the start of this
month and out of seven of them, three of them didn’t necessarily get the, they did an initial
assessment and then it wasn’t necessarily the results they needed. I don’t blame them,
I sat down with them and did those tests, right, and they’re not the easiest thing in
the world if you haven’t been to school or done Pythagoras and working out circumferences
of cylinders. So I think, absolutely, when we’re talking about the benefits and the soft
skill and everything that it can do, I think be aware of those functional skills, those
maths and English, that’s a great shout from Darren and I think the best way is plan, and
be quite thorough, don’t think, right, I’ve got apprentices in, because they’re not going
to know what to do and they’re going to need a bit of hand-holding and you’ve got to be
aware of that. I do an hourly breakdown for the first three months and yes, that changes,
because every business changes, but at least they’ve got a rough guide and it’s making
sure that you work with the buddy that is supporting them, you work with their line
manager. So yes, they’re my key things really. Rohini Bhattacharya: So I think a clear few
themes again there, Claire pointed out the long-term value of the apprentices and the
fact that the apprentices within Claire’s organisation are adding value earlier on in
the process, than anticipated, it’s fantastic and it’s evidence of that. Some of the requirements
around maths and English and how we can actually relook at, including that, within the apprenticeship
timeframe and the 20% off-the-job rather than having a separate. I am sure the ESFA people
have a lot of views around that, we’ll just come up with the functional skills reform
as well, which is proving to be quite a challenge in implementing as well. So I am sure there
are some lessons we can communicate to the policy makers there. Also, the title of the
20% off-the-job, I think probably re-branding that would help in terms of executing there.
Then David talked about the planning and executing and not underestimating the importance of
that before we set off for finding the training programme for the apprentices within the organisation.
Those are all the scripted questions, if you like, and I will now move on to handing over
to my colleague Sapna, to see if there any questions that have come in from the audience.
Sapna: Thanks you Rohini, yes, there are a few questions that have been sent through.
So I will read them out and I’ll ask you to direct them to the panellist. The first question,
what support have you had from trade unions? Rohini Bhattacharya: Darren, do you want to
go first on that? Darren Avery: Yes, we have a staff side group
that represent them within the organisation. So in terms of changes that we’ve made and
in terms of implementing the programmes, then some of that stuff has gone through our staff
side, obviously to support that. Also, in terms of the development of the apprenticeships,
because we’re obviously NHS, there’s a lot of wider development going on, involving different
partners and obviously that will involve various representation from different unions and different
groups that represent staff within the NHS. Rohini Bhattacharya: Okay, Claire, how about
yourself? Claire Lish: We don’t have any trade union
involvement in our business, so I’m afraid I can’t answer that question.
Rohini Bhattacharya: David, is that the same for yourself as well, I would presume?
David Bevan: Yes. Rohini Bhattacharya: I thought so, okay, next
question from you Sapna. Sapna: Yes, so this question is for Claire,
there’s two questions actually. First one, do your apprentices move into a permanent
job at the end of the apprenticeship and how does this work if you have two apprentices
sitting in one vacancy. Claire Lish: That’s a great question, we offer
our apprentices a fixed term contract, we seek to convert them to permanent as soon
as they finish their contracts, but we don’t actually guarantee it. Having said that, because
of the way that the business grows and the way that we very tightly model our FTE to
assets undermanagement, we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been able to track and see where
apprentices are coming up to the end of their programme and make sure that we hold vacancies
back. It would be unusual for us not to be able to invite people to stay on with us,
and very often actually, we’ve got quite a few across finance and operations, that have
then gone on to be promoted within role. What was the second part of the question?
Rohini Bhattacharya: I think they might be on mute.
Sapna: Sorry, yes, apologies, the second part of the question, was, how does this work if
you have two apprentices sitting in one vacancy? Claire Lish: Oh yes, sorry, again, it’s all
down the modelling the headcount. We are a very fast-paced business, probably the fasted
paced-business I’ve ever worked in. So that kind of landscape of headcount is constantly
being monitored, depending on the portfolios that we manage. So there is a little bit of
alchemy in that, but we work very carefully to see where the vacancies are coming through.
Typically though, this is a competitive environment for specialists in operations on the call
centre side. So we’re very glad to have grown our own talent and have double resource coming
up through and don’t get me wrong, if we’ve got talented young people in the business,
we’ll go over headcount to keep them in until we need them because there’s always plenty
of work to be done. So we’re very pragmatic about that requirement. We do model tightly,
but if we’ve got someone who is valuable to us, that’s a small cost, if we’ve someone
who is coming in at the entry level to keep them on for maybe a few months, even though
there isn’t a vacancy, against the cost of recruiting and training someone else up from
scratch. If we’ve already invested that much into them, we would ride with it for a while
if they’re really, really good. Rohini Bhattacharya: I just wanted to see
if Darren had any views on that as well, because obviously I think you’re probably in a similar
situation in terms of requirement from a workforce perspective.
Darren Avery: Yes, so the way we recruit apprenticeships at Great Ormond hospital is, we ask all managers,
when recruiting for an entry level position to consider an apprentice, then we look at
the suitable of that role and ensure we have a suitable apprenticeship programme to match.
So all our apprentices actually sit in substantial roles. So they’re employed on a fixed-term
contract and then completion of the apprenticeship they move into the role [line distorts 0:30:31.5]
we establish quite early on, that method. So basically, all our apprentices have jobs
waiting for them at the end of it, and that’s based on them completing the apprenticeship
and we have a really good success rate of apprentices completing and obviously we make
sure they get all the support when do complete. So we can almost say that all apprentices
are guaranteed a job at GOSH on completion of the apprenticeship.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Okay, that’s great. David anything else to add from your perspective?
David Bevan: No, I think, Blue Chip are absolutely the same, I think Claire hit the nail on the
head when she talked about the commercial awareness of, if you’ve invested in someone
for whatever that apprenticeship time frame is, 15 months, 18 months, two years, etc.,
and you know that person is the right fit for the business. Then why would you got through
the recruitment process and betting on a new starter that you might not necessarily have
fit into the team and the business, and the cost of all of that, and the time and resource.
So at Blue Chip, we have never, we do the same as both Darren and Claire do, which is
offer it as a fixed-term and I think, a lot of employers will do that, but we’re really
proud that we can also say that we often, we have never sorry, we have never not placed
someone after their apprenticeship. They might move into a slightly different role and that’s
through business growth or because they’ve identified that’s part of their professional
and personal development plan, but yes, we always offer that. Every business has growth
and nutrition, hopefully, every business has nutrition, not necessarily growth. So yes,
normally there’s room to fit them. Rohini Bhattacharya: Next question Sapna.
Sapna: Yes, okay, so this question is for David, what trading have the mentors had to
support apprentices? David Bevan: Okay, yes, it’s a great question,
because obviously you need to give them that training and support. So that’s where myself
and my [Inaudible – coughing 0:32:37.3] within the L&D team will do sessions around how to
give feedback. So how to do effective feedback, they have communication training, they have
the insights profile done. So they’ve got a better self-awareness for them, but also
an awareness for the other person. So we invest quite heavily in that person, and like I said
before, when answering the question is, we use it as that opportunity to develop and
upskill them, but we’ll have like a learning package which is around mainly communication,
insights, giving effective feedback, they’ll be the three key things. Then we might also
act as a mentor to the mentor, if that makes sense, and supporting them in that respect.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Claire, you talked about buddying and shadowing as well, within the
organisation. So just adding on to what David has mentioned, how do you provide that support
to the apprentices and maybe the employees as well?
Claire Lish: We offer that support internally and we also partner with an organisation called
Raise Your Potential, that we use to upskill people around coaching and mentoring. For
us, it’s been very, very good in identifying people who would have future potential as
managers and team leaders in the business. We have a very, we’ve got quite a strong internal
performance management and manager training programme, that we offer people to take advantage
of, in order to be a good support to the apprentices. The other thing that we also do, which is
really valuable, is, we take SMEs from across the business, which probably the guys do as
well, but we hadn’t realised the benefit of it, but we get them to come in and write the
programme to help us to write the programme for the apprentices, and what we found was
that was a great learning experiences for those individuals to get very much involved
in the learning and development process. Again, was an opportunity for people to really excel
in a different way to their standard day job. So it’s all inhouse that piece really, with
the exception of our partner that we bring in to deliver scheduled training across [line
distorts 0:34:58.1]. Darren, obviously yours is quite a different organisation, does shadowing
and mentoring and support actually work within the NHS effectively?
Darren Avery: Yes, mentoring is embedded within the NHS, a lot of the regulated roles will
require the trainees to have mentors. So with apprentices, it’s a natural thing that we
would do that. So for example our entry level role on our wards is a healthcare support
worker. So that’s the starting point for somebody working on the wards, working with our children
that are in our care, and all of those healthcare support workers have a mentor, and the mentor
is part of the apprenticeship programme. They are required to support and sign off different
elements of the programme as well as providing that mentoring support, so it’s a natural
thing that we do that, and that’s not just within those programmes, but in other programmes
we also mentoring opportunities. I think Claire alluded to it earlier about the opportunity
that that brings for staff. We’ve got over 5000 staff as an organisation and mentoring
that allows some of our staff the opportunity to progress and they get the opportunity to
be exposed to certain things that they wouldn’t be within their roles for being a mentor for
an apprentice definitely gives the other staff a great opportunity and it also allows them
to be supportive of the apprenticeship programme across the organisation.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Next question then Sapna. Sapna: This question from the audience, they
first of all say that they appreciate the panels perspective regarding 20% off-the-job,
but in a really commercially focused business where ROI or productivity is key, how do you
mitigate the 20% to business leaders or department managers?
Rohini Bhattacharya: Claire, do you want to go first on that, I think you’ll probably
have some specific [line distorts 0:36:59.0]. Claire Lish: For me, I think it comes down
to the numbers. So I’ve just written a few notes here really, your basic apprentice wage
is £3.90 an hour, we’ve got to pay that, we pay the minimum wage for 21 to 24 which
is about £7.70. Okay so that [line distorts 0:37:17.9] salary of about £15,000. If you
pro-rate that salary and say that actually it’s four days, it’s still less, if that salary
is over four days, and you pro-rate it up to the five, it’s still much less than it
would cost for a specialist to come into our business. So we are financial services, but
I go in with the numbers, the numbers add up, because this is clearly valuable resource
that we will have into our business. It’s cheaper than the most basic administrator
and if I then go back in and talk to them about the apprentice levy and the funding
that we get back, and the opportunity to co-invest and provide opportunities to everyone else
in the business, my managers are falling over to take advantage of this. I would say that
this is truly commercial for us, and is a very good way to support any organisation
that claims to have an ambition to grow its own talent and growing your own talent should
be something that we’re aiming for so that we can offer opportunities to move up through
the business. Every time I bring in someone at the bottom of the organisation and offer
people the opportunity to move up a bit higher, I am showing people that there is a pathway
and a journey to have in my organisation. So I would much rather bring in apprentices
and show the commercial value, pro-rate them to four days a week, marry that up against
our FT planner, and then marry that up against the opportunities that we have against our
headcount on the apprentice levy to give people training on – I’ve got people in my team doing
their HR qualifications, I’ve got people doing the triple threat master’s in business management
with the Open University, the opportunities are endless. I would say in a commercial organisation,
this is a no-brainer. Rohini Bhattacharya: How about yourself David?
David Bevan: Yes I think, I’m the exact same as Claire really, I think in terms of, the
easiest and best way if you’re going on productivity KPIs, is by just saying, ‘Okay, imagine this
person is working four days a week.’ Claire was talking around forecasting them at half-productivity
for their first three months. They’re still going to be at a stage six months down the
road. I think the other thing that Claire just touched upon in terms of the HR qualifications
and stuff, is that apprenticeships aren’t labour based apprenticeships anymore. Apprenticeships
can cover so many different things, and I think it doesn’t matter what organisation
you’re in, there is just a wealth and they are being more and more added, all the time,
every day. Like new standards are coming and yes, there’s a bit of research that you need
to do on those newer ones but there’s so much stuff that you can do internally. Even if
you don’t bring in an apprenticeship as an external candidate and you look at using that
levy, because I imagine most of our audience are from businesses where they are paying
the levy. Actually, if we’re paying out money, use that to invest in staff, use that to upskill
new HR people or finance people, or customer service people. There’s some absolutely great
stuff out there and I think people would be daft not to use it. I think Claire’s framework
of that four day a week is an absolute easy win if you need to encourage stakeholders.
Rohini Bhattacharya: That’s great, the two clear perspectives there obviously from an
entry level perspective around the economics of the entry level worker and the rate salary
and the benefits, the cost and benefit analysis there. Also, David touched upon the existing
workforce and we have a similar situation in our organisation where we are using the
levy drop skill, our existing workforce, with the whole digital transformation agenda, which
is very, very key and critical across most organisations today. I think it’s the productivity,
it’s putting a value to the productivity index, is that existing staff member is bringing
to the team. So I have an existing member of staff who is doing an apprenticeship, he
has been in the organisation for ten years. Just by virtue of him doing an apprenticeship,
the added confidence and the added productivity that he’s bringing to the team, far exceeds
what I would have needed to employ, maybe two other members of staff to actually do
the equal amount of work that he is doing by himself. This is alongside him working
those four days a week and still devoting that one day a week to his apprenticeship
preparation, so it is absolutely… David Bevan: Rohini, I imagine right, there
might be, if he’s been in the organisation for ten years there might be some of it, just
a validation of learning, but that’s okay [line distorts 0:42:13.7] that confidence
thing that you touched on, sometimes people need that little bit of recognition and going
into a room and meeting people from other organisations and actually going, ‘You know
what, I do know this, I’m good at this, I can do this,’ that’s great.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Absolutely right, exactly, and he is exactly doing that, he knows his
job, but it’s almost like a validation to say, ‘Yes, you can go on to the next level
and be the project manager, lead the project, lead some people that you’re managing directly.’
So it’s all of that which adds to that confidence as well, absolutely, yes. Darren, did you
have anything to add as well, obviously you’re probably not a commercial organisation, but
I’m sure you have instances when people adding value.
Darren Avery: No, we’re not a commercial organisation but finances are obviously really key to us
within the NHS. So probably just as much as a commercial organisation, but we’re using
apprenticeships to really build our workforce for the future, and that’s really how we’re
benefiting from apprenticeships, in terms of it helping support with recruitment and
retention. So it really does, as David and Claire have said, the benefits probably, they
do far outweigh. So in terms of having apprenticeships, and losing them for 20% of the time, if that’s
supporting us with recruitment and retention, we’d rather have people 80% of the time than
not have them at all. We all know what’s involved with recruiting staff and how long it takes
and getting them trained up. So if we get better retention from our staff, and our apprentices,
and over time we are seeing those benefits, we’re seeing that apprentices are progressing
within the organisation and they are saying. So there’s some real benefits and if the sacrifice
is that we have to give them some time off to develop their skills, I am sure they fully
appreciate that, and we probably get more than 20% of their time back in the long run,
in terms of the motivation they have as a result of the apprenticeship.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Next question then Sapna. Sapna: How do you record off-the-job, and
have you received any feedback on this from the ESFA and the Ofsted?
Rohini Bhattacharya: David, do you want to go first on that?
David Bevan: Yes, it will dependent on the provider that you use, so they will normally
have their own e-learning platform where users log in and then manually do it. On the initial
onboarding stage, we’ll normally enter this is a group. So because our onboarding programme
is really around getting people in as a team and working together and there’s a lot of
initial training, we do quite a bit of frontloading sometimes in that first maybe month, where
I really, as and L&D resource, help them. So what we’ll do is, as every week as a group,
we’ll get together and make sure everyone syncs up, just so that they get experience
of you using the system that traps it. Then what it becomes is pretty much an admin task
which is, they will normally probably do it retrospectively at the end of their week,
that’s what works for them, but people are different. Some people might go to a training
session, go back to their desk, and straightaway log into the portal and enter it. some people
may make a note of it, that they attended, and do it in some admin time at the end of
the week. So I think it’s different for different people. In terms of monitoring we haven’t
had any problems, touch wood, so far, in terms of that, so I can’t answer to that point.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Okay, and that’s in relation to the ESFA, the point about the ESFA audit?
David Bevan: Yes. Rohini Bhattacharya: Darren, how about yourself,
in terms of tracking and monitoring 20% off-the-job. Darren Avery: Yes, we’ll we’re not a main
provider, we work for a number of organisations so we wouldn’t be directly audited by the
ESFA, or visited by Ofsted but obviously we are, as an employer, we are involved in ensuring
that the 20% off-the-job does happen. It is a bit of an admin task, David did allude to
that, which is a bit unfortunate really, because it is an admin task that the apprentices just
have to record the time. We’ve had some success in terms of the apprentices reflecting on
their learning, so it’s been good from that point of view. We heavily rely on our training
providers to support and to make it less onerous to try and see the benefits to the apprentices
on recording the off-the-job, but really that’s not the benefit of recording it, it’s not
the benefit. The benefit is them actually getting the time and them undertaking the
learning, like I was saying earlier and ensuring that they get the knowledge, skills, and behaviours
to move into their role at the end of their apprenticeship.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Claire, how about yourself, how do you do this?
Claire Lish: Likewise, we wouldn’t be audited, we do rely on external providers, but we’re
quite lucky that we’ve got a fairly good LMS that we use [line distorts 0:47:26.6] success
and we roll out a lot of the online training via that portal, which tracks the time automatically.
We’re a lit bit parental in that we log all of our apprentices time and activity. Then,
in addition to that, we would send out regular communications asking people to just let us
know any other training activity that they’ve taken part in, so that we can log that. I
think for us, because we are a regulated entity, it’s very important for us to track, not just
our apprentices training hours, but all of our employees training hours. So from our
perspective I think we’re fairly lucky that in respect of logging apprentice training
hours, we kind of already had an imperative with our existing staff, so it wasn’t really
very new to us. Rohini Bhattacharya: Okay, thank you. Sapna,
next question, we have another ten to go on this, so some more questions there.
Sapna: Yes of course, this question is aimed at Darren, so I will read out the comment
from the member of the audience, so bear with me. ‘I work for a training provider delivering
to existing non-clinical NHS staff members in the local hospitals. Some of my apprentices
are finding it difficult to find time for the off-the-job, due to staffing constraints,
which means that their department can’t spare them. How do you deal with these issues at
GOSH? Darren Avery: So this is what I was talking
about, about working close to, with your training provider as an organisation, to ensure that
the time is planned. So kind of trying to find the off-the-job hours or expecting it
to happen when there is no clear plan, is likely to fail from both the employer and
the training providers point of view. So we, like I said, we’ve re-contracted our training
providers, we’ve delivered apprenticeships prior to these rules and obviously now we’re
delivering them. So it is still a challenge, especially for existing staff that already
enrols and that are signing up to apprenticeships. What we do as an organisation, is we ensure
that the commitment is there upfront so that the manager and the individual is fully committed
to the apprenticeship including the off-the-job training that’s required. Then we would expect
our training provider to ensure that the manager is fully briefed on that as well. So we run
what we call manager sessions for our managers that have existing staff that are going on
apprenticeships. So the manager is fully aware of what they’re committed to and that they
are given the appropriate support and the release requirements to allow the existing
member of staff to take part in the apprenticeship. Rohini Bhattacharya: I think during the discussion
we also had several comments from the panel members around want to count as part of the
20% off-the-job. So it’s not, I think, Claire you mentioned something specifically around,
it’s not one thing, and it can be a variety of different things, that actually counts
towards that 20% off-the-job. So are there creative ways of actually sitting down with
the employer to look at what can be, as part of the normal course of the job, be counted
within that 20%. Claire, did you have anything to say on that?
Claire Lish: I think, yes, we do need to be creative, but I still think that there should
always be a framework and I think we need to be very clear on what does and doesn’t
count, in order to make sure that we don’t do our apprentices any kind of a disservice.
I’m alive to the fact, in some organisations where there is a real time pressure, how you
do that, and how you meet the needs of the organisation at the same time as meeting the
needs of the learner. It’s a challenge and I think it’s each organisation has to find
their own solutions, but the framework for that and what does and doesn’t count as off-the-job
learning is really, really important, so that it’s clear and accidental advantage isn’t
taken on either side. Rohini Bhattacharya: Just conscious of time
Sapna, maybe one more question. Sapna: If an apprentice is completing online
learning as opposed to attending, out-of-the office training, does this count towards 20%
off-the-job? Rohini Bhattacharya: David, do you want to
go first on that? David Bevan: Yes, so as long as it is, the
whole panel have been talking about understanding what does and doesn’t, if the training isn’t
related to their role, it counts as off-the-job training. So GDPR can count as off-the-job
training, and most businesses use that as an e-learning module because that’s the easiest
way to ship out GDPR training to people. So absolutely, e-learning, you’ve got three advocates
on this panel and Rohini, maybe four. In terms of a blended learning approach, and so absolutely,
e-learning is part of the off-the-job learning process. So back to my original answer, yes.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Absolutely, and the 20% off-the-job guidance is very, very clear,
e-learning definitely is part of that, it’s very clearly written in there as well. So
no doubts about that. One last question maybe Sapna.
Sapna: One of the challenges we face in my organisation is being able to encourage employers
to provide off-the-job to learners. Is that on average about four hours a week?
Claire Lish: Well, it depends how many hours a week they’re working, doesn’t it? For us,
off -the-job training at 20% would be one day, so seven-and-a-half hours.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Yes. David Bevan: I think what is important, is
that actually, it’s not like you have to do it on a weekly or monthly basis. So it’s across
the whole apprenticeship, so similar to what Claire does is, in terms of thinking of it
like one day a week, but actually some of our learners, we might send them off for a
two-day course. So it just depends, it’s over time. What we’re actually finding, I alluded
to it before, where, that 20% off-the-job number may sound scary and big, but actually,
a lot of our apprentices hit that, way, way before the end of their apprenticeship.
Claire Lish: I will just agree with David, although I’m couching it as, and saying just
look at is a one day a week, we tick off a huge chunk of that 20% in the first six weeks
that someone is in our organisation, with that kind of intensive training programme
where they learn so much different stuff around the industry generally. It’s not about teaching
them how to do their job specifically and then after that, it kind of snowballs, so
exactly your point David. Rohini Bhattacharya: Darren how about yourself?
Darren Avery: Well, I haven’t really talked about it today, but the nursing apprenticeships,
that we will be launching soon at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but are available widely
within the NHS, they are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and 20% is
actually way lower than what they would expect. In fact, it’s more than 50% that they’re required
off-the-job in terms of attendance at university and also regarding the number of placement
hours they have to do. Like I said, that way exceeds, it’s more than 50% of the time that
they fulfil in off-the-job training and that’s not, the apprenticeship that’s set that as
a rule, the 20% off-the-job that’s regulated by the NMC.
Rohini Bhattacharya: Thank you, well I’m just conscious of time, we’re just coming up to
full hour that we devoted to this webinar. So I think we’ll stop it there and Sapna,
if there are additional questions, what we will do is, we will get the responses to that
back with the audience as well. Can I just take this opportunity to really thank our
panel, so Claire, Darren and David, thank you so much for your valuable time taking
out that one hour from your already busy schedules, I’m sure. It’s been a really good insight
to have, from your perspective and I am sure the audience has benefited lots to learn from
your perspective on the 20% off-the job. To our audience, thank you very much for joining
us, hope this has clarified some of the confusion or some of the doubts that you had about the
benefits of the 20% off-the-job and we will shortly be sharing the recording for the webinar
as well as the responses to our questions. Have a great rest of the day all of you and
thank you again, Claire, Darren and David for your time. [END OF TRANSCRIPT]

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